Lizard Island visitor - Nash Hancock

Nash Hancock
Image: Claudia Reidy

The CReefs team has had another visitor to the island this week – BHP Billiton's Nash Hancock.

The 24-year-old Graduate Environmental Adviser for BMA Coal (BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance) has paid the team a short visit to see what the scientists are up to, understand more about the project, and report his findings back to BHP Billiton.

The Employee Engagement Program, of which Nash was a part, was financed as part of BHP Billiton's funding of the CReefs project.

The program will support visits by two employees from BHP Billiton on each field trip.

"My main aim was to have a look around Lizard Island to see how the research is going, and I also got the chance to go snorkeling which is great around here as it's such a pristine area," Nash said.

Nash said that he also wanted to come to Lizard Island to learn more about marine life.

"I've learnt about polychaetes, bryozoans, octocorals and I've been helping the scientists collect the specimens while out snorkeling," he said.
"I've been impressed by the different species on the reefs around Lizard Island. The giant blue clam I saw yesterday was amazing. When you swim over the top of it, it shoots out a big jet of water."

NasNash works at the Goonyella Riverside Mine and lives in Moranbah, a small mining town 200 kilometres inland from Mackay.

"My main work at the moment is water management. This year so far we've had over 800 millimetres of rain on site, which is like a once in a hundred years flood event. There was so much water on site that we had to make sure that our strict environmental guidelines were met on where that water could go," Nash said.

He said that seeing the CReefs project first-hand had been a fantastic opportunity to see the practical application of BHP Billiton's funding.

"I think it's a really great thing that they've done. The scientists are such dedicated people, and there will be years more work ahead from these trips alone," he said.